Words of Radiance

I absolutely loved this book.  Much more so than the first book, which I definitely liked.  Brandon Sanderson is able to create a world that is much different from our own.  We get to learn more about the science of a world like this.  Through the character of Shallan, we see the evolution of the flora and fauna.  To me, that is a cool, small detail that is absolutely fascinating. 

There is also a complex history to the world that we are still just beginning to touch upon.  This book also made me start reading Sanderson’s other books because they apparently belong to a larger universe called the Cosmere.  I love that sort of stuff.  Reminds me of The Dark Tower.  The mythology presented and how it has twisted over time, causing a character like Shallan to have to become a historian and at times even an archaeologist, well naturally that will make me happy.

But, it is not just a series about the history of this world.  The magic system is very rigid and Sanderson lays out the rules fairly early on.  Especially as characters develop their powers.  He is quick to have them test their limits and learn what they can do. 

Anyways, those are the reasons you should pick up this fantastic series.  Here are some of the things I loved about the second book and some of my theories for the rest of the series.  Hopefully some of you will start reading it and join me in a discussion…

-The fight scenes.  As I said about the previous book, Sanderson knows how to write a good fight scene.  This one had multiple great battles.  There were some early duels that Adolin participated in that were pretty cool.  Each time he had a different fighting style as to confuse future opponents.

The best fight was the duel where it was Adolin versus four other Shardbearers.  He starts out actually winning, but after the four realize they can work together and kill him, he tries to surrender.  They do not allow him and want to make an example of him.  Kaladin joins the fight with just a spear and helps Adolin defeat the four.  I pulled into the house when the fight started and could not stop listening.  I ended up coming inside and listening to the whole thing with my headphones.

The first time Szeth comes up against Adolin, Dalinar, and Kaladin was also great.  Hell, even the next time when he comes to kill Dalinar and the High Prince is able to fend Szeth off was pretty amazing.  Then Kaladin shows up after having completed the bonding of Syl and a truly awesome battle ensues.  Two beings that can manipulate gravity fighting each other in the middle of a massive storm.

-I loved the growth in the two main characters:  Shallan and Kaladin.  Shallan starts out as a timid girl, but by the end of the book she is a Knight Radiant.  She has to face the nightmares of her past in order to fully grow into who she is to become.  On the other hand, Kaladin takes his dark past and allows it to consume him until he almost loses his power.

The great moment is when Shallan and Kaladin are trapped in the chasm and he realizes that she has a darkness inside of her as well, that bad things must have happened to her.  And instead of allowing it to overcome her and define her, she just powers through it, which gives him the hope and strength he needs.

-I love the relationship between Kaladin and Adolin.  They do not necessarily like each other at first, but they do respect one another.  Shallon chides Kal for being so brusk with Adolin, since everyone likes the Prince and he is genuinely a good guy.  Kal looks over to see Adolin allowing some messenger boys to play with his Shard Helm.  They are putting it on and having fun with it and Adolin is laughing and having a good time.  At that moment, Kaladin realizes that his hatred is unfounded.  Also the moment when he learns that Adolin spent the entire time Kaladin was imprisoned in a jail cell was also pretty sweet.  Brought a little tear to my eye.

-Okay, so it seems like we have a long triangle brewing.  Shallan is betrothed to Adolin and she does like him.  However, you can also sense that she has feelings for Kaladin, especially after their time together in the chasm.  And now that they are both Knights Radiant, that will probably bring them closer.  Adolin and Kal are quickly becoming friends, how will this pan out?

-Also, will Adolin become a Radiant?  I have a feeling that the murder of Sadeas will prevent him with bonding a spren.  That is a shame because would there be a better person to have on the battlefield?  Although, I guess you could say that killing Sadeas was the honorable thing to do and it did not stop Shallan from becoming a Radiant.  I wonder if he will be a Dustbringer?  Since his father and brother both have the power…

-What order of Radiant will Lopen belong to?  And is Teft correct that others from Bridge Four are developing the power?  Does that mean the Knights will be fully restored and not just one from each order?

In fact, let us look at the orders and who belongs so far…

Windrunners:  Kaladin.  Obviously this one is pretty easy.  He says it all the time.

Skybreakers:  Szeth (okay, this is tough since Nale revives Szeth at the end, but he has not yet bonded a spren, so it is not clear whether he is the first of that order).

Dustbringers:  Unknown.  My guess is Adolin.  Here is why:  this order was founded by Chana and her attributes are bravery and obedience.  Those two things are the definition of Adolin.  He leaps into battle all the time without thinking about the risk to himself and yet he is extremely obedient to his father.  I am sure Chana would love to have him on her team.  Also, how useful would it be for Adolin to be able to do the things like gliding across a floor (like Lift) and cause spontaneous combustion? 
Edgedancers:  Lift.  The little thief who almost is killed by Darkness (who I am guessing was actually Nale, or Nin as Szeth calls him.  This makes sense since he embodies justice).  She was one of my favorite minor characters and I am happy she made it out alive.

Truthwatchers:  Renarin.  Also, I am guessing that the old man, Ym was one of these as well.  Until Darkness killed him for a crime he committed years ago.

Lightweavers:  Shallan.  Again, another easy one, since she and Pattern mention it and discuss it at length.  Also, Jasnah tells her that she belongs to this order.

Elsecallers:  Jasnah.  Judging by what happens at the end of the book, she did not die on that boat.  From what she told Wit, she must have survived by traveling through Shadesmar.

Willshapers:  Unknown.  This order was founded by Kalak and the words associated are resolute and builder.  That is a tough one.  Maybe this is where Teft would fit.  Or maybe this one will be Rysn?  She is the merchant in training, who is very determined to prove herself to Vstim.  She dives off the head of a great shell and looks into it’s eyes.  She ends up being badly injured from it…could some stormlight be in her future to fix her legs?

Stonewards:  Unknown.  Although, since this one was founded by Talenel, the only Herald to honor the Oathpact and who is being held because people think he is a madman.  At the end of the book, Amaram is trying to take him out of the war camp.  He still has incredible reflexes even though his mind is broken.  I am guessing he will somehow bring Amaram into his order and this will cause a nice problem between the Windrunners and the Stonewards…

I would also not be shocked if Lopen could be the one who ends up here.  He is dependable and resourceful (which were the words associated with Talenel).  If it would end up being Lopen then my idea about Bridge Four would be wrong.

Bondsmiths:  Dalinar.  I think he bonded the Stormfather.  And I believe I read somewhere else that there were only ever three Bondsmiths at a time.  The Stormfather told him that he will not turn into a Shardblade for him, so he will be one of the only Knights to not have a sword.  I guess it does not matter when he can probably summon a Highstorm.

Alright, those are my theories.  Let me know what you think…